The Maze Runner is one of the better offerings in the latest cinematic craze for young-adult novel adaptations. The first in a trilogy of books by James Dashner, it introduces us to Thomas, a young man who is transported to a place known as the glade, with no previous memories as to how and why he has been put there.
The glade itself is home to a number of other young men who have arrived monthly over the course of three years, and is surrounded by a giant maze that appears to offer an exit from their apparent imprisonment. Like Thomas, the other ‘gladers’ have no memories prior to their arrival, spending their time attempting to build a community with different groups of people given different jobs.
One of these is maze running, which involves mapping the maze and looking for a way out before night falls and you’re locked in with mechanical creatures known as ‘grievers’. With an unquenchable curiosity, Thomas soon proves himself to be an excellent maze runner, and after a run in with a deadly griever finds a clue that could set the gladers free.
As you can probably guess from that synopsis, there’s a lot of world building in The Maze Runner. Sometimes it’s frustratingly heavy on exposition and the set up for the sequel does somewhat dampen the film’s exciting finale, but otherwise I found the film to be unexpectedly entertaining. It does a great job of appealing to both teens and adults, offering plenty for both groups to enjoy.
Once the film ended, it was met with pockets of applause from the younger groups of people in my rather busy screening, and whilst the two grown men sat next to me guffawed at this reaction, I found it to be justified. I didn’t completely love the film but it did entertain me, and certainly surprised me with some of its darker moments. There’s a Lord Of The Flies type dynamic between the group of gladers that I found interesting to watch and the scenes within the maze are legitimately exciting.
Whilst I remain sceptical that The Maze Runner could be the next big franchise, I still enjoyed this first instalment for what it was. It’s an intriguing piece of sci-fi that is exceedingly entertaining and will prove enjoyable for most people who see it, regardless of age.
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